Korean Buddhism Goes International

By Park Sae-jin Posted : March 28, 2011, 11:25 Updated : March 28, 2011, 11:25
The past week, the Jogye Order Buddhist School of International Studies, opened its doors to the public on Friday. The school, the first of its kind, is located at Hwaunsa temple in Gyeonggi province. The school joins the ranks of other international schools of study including Christianity.

This special two-year training school is aimed at further propagating Korean traditional Buddhism to the rest of the world by fostering specialized monks with bilingual skills, which is necessary when preaching Korean Buddhist teachings to foreigners. The school aims to educate monks about not only religious life, but also more secular matters in order to function in societies that are more open.

Mujin Sunim, the school head discussed with reporters, “Up until now when Korean monks go abroad they really don‘t feel comfortable with foreigners, they don’t know what to do, and foreigners don‘t know what to do with them. However, many people are actually very interested in and curious about Korean Buddhism. So that’s one of the main motivations.”

In order to further the purpose of the schools and its policies, the institution offeres a wide range of cournses to the students, including fundamental Buddhist doctrines and practices to technical English.
The newly opened school has nine Bhikkuni monks and these women are eager to spread their words of wisdom.

Un-Seong Sunim, one of Bhikkuni monks teaching at the school, “I enrolled because I wanted to deepen my understanding of Korean Buddhism and preach the teachings in my own voice to many others around the world and help them cure their minds.”

The nine student monks vary in age and experience, but their goal is the same; to liberate people across the globe from suffering by enlightening them through Korean Buddhism.

(아주경제 앤드류 이 기자)
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